Many people bought or built big homes for their growing families, in the '90s. The goal was to have enough room for those bigger families and the expectation was that we would "downsize" later as the children grew and left the house. Well, plans do not always work out the way you think and now the empty nest is no longer empty for many families.

Whether you have downsized or not, the American family has changed since the time you first moved into your current home. In fact, the family structure is different in major ways. The most fundamental change is that the family has become "extended" and has continued to live together longer than in the past. Many young people are still living with their parents (for a number of reasons) and many children are being raised by grandparents. The result is that the empty nest is no longer empty, and that is a good thing.

The reality is that home has much more value in an environment where families can retain and renovate the properties they have so they can repurpose them to fit the needs of today's families. Often that is more beneficial than buying a new one or even downsizing.

This is not a commentary on the state of the American family as much as it is the utility of the American home. That big house is still in use for many families, and the big house has some important new uses. For one, it is room enough for the extended family and extended stays with the grandparents.

In addition, that big house is the home office (or offices) since the pandemic shuttered so many families. My bet is that many families are reconsidering downsizing versus reconfiguring. That has implications for many industries and for many communities. It may even have considerations for you.

What do you say? Is this a trend you are seeing in your community? Are you one of those "boomers" who are rethinking the utility of that big house you purchased 20-30 years ago??

Sound off...